Friday Adventure Run and the Sunk Costs Effect

I gave blood last Tuesday. While I’m not completely incapable of giving blood, as I’ve never passed out or gotten dizzy, I am a relatively small (5’3″) woman. So, being a pint short causes me to be groggy and a little out of breath on the stairs for a few days.

Since I’ve also gotten pretty fat this winter, I decided to use that Tuesday as a landmark date for getting back into shape. There are probably no real health benefits to working out after giving blood. My body is already producing a lot of erythropoietin to compensate for the loss of RBCs, so I highly doubt that intensive exercise after giving blood will have the same effect as altitude training, in which you are stimulating EPO/RBC production by stressing your body with low-oxygen conditions. What I mean is, there is probably a “cap” on your body’s rate of EPO production.

With this in mind, I decided to use this period to do what I call “Suffer Training” and “You’re Fat Reminder’s”, which provide purely psychological benefits. This is when you put yourself in a bit of pain to a) get used to the feeling, and b) remind yourself that it would hurt a lot less if you didn’t stress-eat all those cheesecakes last month.

I gave blood on Tuesday. To kick-start my return to caring about my body, I jogged/walked 2.5 miles in Washington Park on Thursday. Then I got my ass kicked by my sister on a run to Haymarket in Boston on Saturday. I ran/walked the 3-mile Normanskill-Delaware bridge route on Sunday. And on Tuesday, I went on a 5.75-mile road/trail run with Brett, my roommate.

He was also trying to get back in shape after the winter, so he casually threw out an invitation. I accepted with a vague idea that we were going to do 4-ish miles. The Normanskill farm-golf course loop that we did was pretty fantastic. Roads, no cars, dirt, steeeep uphills, crisp weather, the rising sun, the first hints of spring. Probably one of my favorite runs in this area. I didn’t realize how long this was until I mapped it out afterwards. I am a cyclist, not a runner. The most I’ve done in one sitting is 6 miles, and this is when I’m in pretty good shape. So this run was not only very fun, but also a confidence booster. I tend to smoke myself psychologically sometimes.

So now that I’m officially interested in running again, I played around with MapMyRide this week and came up with a route that went east on the Albany County Rail Trail, crossed a few closed bridges, went up Old South Pearl St, and returned via McCarthy Ave– around 5.8 miles. I decided to tackle this at 6pm on Friday afternoon, with one hour of daylight left. I made my way down Normanskill, past the small white church to the old Rockefeller Rd bridge. I accessed the rail trail via the steep dirt/gravel path. Going west takes you into Delmar, while going east takes you towards the Hudson. Both trails are unpaved and rough. (Another reason I’m motivated to explore the east trail is that I’ve heard that graptolites can be found on the Normans Kill.)

rail trail east run

The east trail started as dirt but quickly turned into chunky railroad gravel. Running this was not terribly fun or great for my shoes. After about a mile, I reached the old railroad bridge that crossed the Normans Kill. It was in worse condition than I expected from the map. The bridge had metal beams about a foot wide spanning the river. There were wooden planks 1 ft wide and 5-6 ft long in various stages of decomposition that were laid across the beams. The foot of the bridge was missing planks, resulting in a five-foot gap with the river 100 feet below. I really wanted to finish the trail, and I thought, well, I made it this far already– I’ll just cross this bridge and this will be the last time I do this route.rail trail east_bridge

I grabbed some vines and put one foot after the other on the metal beams until I made my way to the first wooden plank. I soon realized that there were these gaps between the planks. They weren’t wide enough for me to fall through– if I slipped, my butt would get stuck and save me from plummeting to my death– but it were still unnerving. To make matters worse, some of the planks had rotted. I got down and half-squatted, half crawled across the bridge, stepping on the planks where they were supported by the metal beam underneath. There was no rail. I made my way across, and the stupidity of what I was doing hit me. Holy shit. No one knows where I am. I haven’t told anyone I’m going running. This is an old railroad trail in the middle of nowhere. The sun is going down in 30 minutes. I am walking on rotting wood 100 feet above cold and who-knows-how-shallow water. I was halfway across when I noticed that there was a good five-foot section of bridge missing just up ahead. If I had a shittier week and were feeling reckless, I would have said, “well, what the hell”. Instead, I said, “nope”, turned around while suppressing feelings of panic, and crawled back.

Okay, I am a little scared of heights. Was this potentially very dangerous? Yes. Was I scared for my life? Yes. Was I actually in any danger? Probably not. A seasoned rock climber or mountain biker would probably skip across the bridge in no time. To paraphrase what a world-famous free solo rock climber (was it Alex Honnold?) once said, if you feel an adrenaline rush, then something has gone terribly wrong.

To the right of the foot of the bridge was a deer trail into the woods. It looked like there might be another way to cross the river. I trampled my way through branches and brambles (ouch) and came across a stream. I got my shoes wet and muddy. I realized that there was a wider section of river that the bridge went over, and that this was just a stream that had diverged from the main body. I felt a second wave of stupidity wash over me. I got back to the stony rail trail with waterlogged shoes and cuts from the brambles and retraced my route back.

As I reached the foot of the Rockefeller Rd bridge, I noticed that someone had placed a pair of shoes in the middle of the road. Placed, not thrown from a car. Placed with purpose. They were black Nike Freeruns with lime green interiors. They were exactly like the ones my running roommate owns. And they were burned. What the fuck. This is a scene straight out of Deliverance. As a weak, tired, short female alone in the middle of nowhere with ten minutes to sunset, I was a little creeped out.

I made it home without incident.

And that was the craziest thing I’ve done in a while.

Yuca and Plantains

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Mr Pio Pio’s on Quail St and got this dish with assorted rotisserie meats and fried yuca and plantains. It was so good. The plantains were so good. The last plantains I had were the ones my sister made. She has since become a much better cook. No, really. Her cooking now rivals my mom’s. But anyways….

Last Friday I went grocery shopping before eating dinner. I was STARVING. This was reflected in my purchases, which included yuca, three plantains, seven tomatoes, a package of chicken gizzards, a bag of Chex mix, and an egg custard pie.

I almost never cook real meals. I also rarely eat out- when I do, it’s usually pizza or Subway, because it’s cheap and delicious. Usually, this means I eat a lot of crock-pot stews, non-fancy pasta, eggs, salads, and microwaved frozen veggies (I do a good job staying away from the frozen prepared meals.). I eat a lot of sandwiches and “leftovers” burritos. I eat things that taste like food and make me not hungry. I don’t think I crave things like most other people. I’ve done this for years and years and years. I am a creature of habit.

I also have a strange fear of cooking meat. I avoid buying meat besides eggs and occasionally chicken (which I cook in the crock pot until it’s dead). I’ve bought meat to make pulled pork and have had it go bad due to procrastination.

For someone who still eats cans of corn on occasion (mmmm), cooking real dishes is highly unusual. However! I am not only making “real” meals, but I am also improving my culturally competency in my culinary creations! I have made food from three cultures ever since last Friday’s ghrelin-induced shopping spree.

On Friday, I made pasta alla carbonara (for the first time) with spaghetti and turkey sausage.

On Sunday, I made stir-fried chicken gizzards and hearts (for the first time) with onions, garlic, mushrooms, ginger, spicy and mild green peppers, and sesame oil.

On Tuesday, I made pasta alla carbonara (for the second time) with penne, onions, turkey sausage, and broccoli. Getting a little better.

On Wednesday (today!), I made fried yuca and plantains (for the first time). They were pretty darn good, even if I say so myself.

First I chopped the yuca and plantains.

20150318_195232

Then I boiled the yuca in water for 15 minutes until they were soft. I fried the plantains and yuca in vegetable oil at 275-300 degrees F. (The black plantains were added to oil heated past its smoke point.) I seasoned with sea salt.

20150318_221956

The finished product! Mmmm.

Roommate searching

It’s that time of year when I have to look for roommates on Craigslist. Over the past couple years, I’ve gotten better at reading between the lines when it comes to Craigslist replies. Sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious when the replies are spam or really belong in the “seeking women” section. Some other replies are a bit trickier, and the true nature of the replier only becomes obvious if you think it over a little.

craigslist.2015.camilia

Instant red flags are the mass copy/paste replies and the request to reply to a gmail account instead of the Craigslist-generated email.

But ignoring that… her openness to admitting to loving belly dancing and pole dancing is a little wacky. Well, I guess it’s not too unreasonable since a lot of female-oriented dance-for-fitness classes are trending these days.

But also ignoring that…. She likes reading the Bible and Book of Mormon. Ok. People who actually like reading usually list genres or authors. No one ONLY lists religious texts. Why would you name-drop the Bible/Book of Mormon unless you wanted to make a point? The point that “Camilia” is making is that she is a) a person of quality material who has values, and b) she is Mormon, and the subtext is that she might be open to a polygamous relationship.

“Camilia” is interested in movies, cooking, roadtrips, and camping, which are relationship hobbies.

I also love the request to exchange contact information in case there is an “agreement”.

Not a real person.